Del Zotto Out More Than a Month With Injury
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto will miss the next four to five weeks with a lower-body injury, the team announced on Friday.
It’s unfortunate news for the 26-year-old blueliner who has battled injuries throughout his career. In 2015-16, Del Zotto missed the final 28 games of the season with a wrist injury and registered just 13 points in 52 games— a step back offensively after compiling 32 points in 64 games the season before.
Del Zotto arrived in Philadelphia before the start of the 2014-15 season after he became an unrestricted free agent when the Nashville Predators did not extend him a qualifying offer. During his first season with the Flyers, he showed signs of being the offensive defenseman he had been during his first three seasons with the New York Rangers when he scored 89 points in his first 204 NHL games.
In his final two seasons with the Blueshirts from 2012 to 2014, Del Zotto tallied 32 points in 88 games and was traded to the Predators midway through the 2013-14 season in exchange for defenseman Kevin Klein. Del Zotto played play 25 games with the Predators before becoming a free agent.
Del Zotto’s injury will be an obstacle for the Flyers and second-year coach David Hakstol to overcome out of the gate in 2016-17.
Oilers Assign Reinhart to AHL
The Edmonton Oilers assigned defenseman Griffin Reinhart to the American Hockey League’s Bakersfield Condors, the team announced on Friday. With the move, the Oilers have brought the team’s training camp roster down to 29 players— 18 forwards, nine defensemen and two goalies.
After being acquired by the Oilers from the New York Islanders for a first- and second-round pick, Reinhart split time between the Oilers and Condors in 2015-16, registering one assist in 29 NHL games and tallying 10 points in 30 games in the AHL.
Reinhart reportedly had a “very poor camp” according to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector and the decision to send him to the Condors means the Oilers still do not see the sort of player the franchise hoped they were getting when it traded two top draft picks for him at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
After being selected by the New York Islanders fourth overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Reinhart returns to the Condors this season with just 37 games of NHL experience, having played eight games with the Islanders before the trade to Edmonton.
As a 22-year-old defenseman, it can take a little longer to adjust to the NHL game. Given the price it took to bring Reinhart to Edmonton, however, the Oilers may be running out of patience.
IOC Sets Jan. 15 Deadline for NHL’s Participation Decision
The NHL has not committed to sending its players to the 2018 Winter Olympics, but according to a deadline provided by the International Olympic Committee, the league’s decision will need to come soon.
“When it comes to the final participation … there is a date set at Jan. 15 to find an agreement,” IOC executive director Christophe Dubi told the Associated Press. “Until then it will be work between all parties involved to make sure that we get the participation of the very best, and that’s for both Pyeongchang and Beijing.”
Beijing is the site of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
The NHL has been hesitant to commit its players to the 2018 Olympics, set to take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea. During the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the NHL’s Deputy Commissioner, Bill Daly did not sound very hopeful about the NHL sending its players to participate .
“I think time is very short to make a decision, and I’m not sure there’s been a lot of progress made in the past six months, and I’m not sure there’s any prospect for progress to be made,” Daly said, according to Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski. “So on the basis of that, I’d say that I’m more negative today than I was two weeks ago.”
The NHL’s concerns include who will cover player insurance costs and the costs for the players and their guests to attend the games— the final decision of which has reportedly not yet been decided
Odds and Ends
— Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ryan Murphy will miss three to four weeks with a lower-body injury, according to head coach Bill Peters on Friday.
— The New Jersey Devils signed center Michael McLeod to a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced on Friday. McLeod, 18, was drafted by the Devils 12th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
— The NHL’s 30 teams must finalize rosters by Oct. 11 at 5 pm ET and the NHL’s trade deadline has been set for Mar. 1 at 3 pm ET, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie on Friday. The 2016-17 NHL season opens on Oct. 12.
— Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin did not look quite as comfortable on the golf course as he does on the ice, during a round of golf with his teammates. Watch him tee off here!
Steven is a lawyer and writer with a passion for the game of hockey. He’s the Lead Writer covering the Tampa Bay Lightning with THW. He’s also been press credentialed through the Lightning since 2016. His work has been published at The Fourth Period, LightningInsider.com, Bolt Prospects, The Sports Daily Network, U.S. College Hockey Online and College Hockey News. He’s had radio appearances on TSN 690 in Montreal, Lightning Power Play Live and multiple podcasts to give insight and analysis on the team. He can be reached on Twitter @StevenDiOssi and by email at email@example.com.